Sister Mary Hitler, Part III

When class ended, my classmates grabbed their stuff and practically ran out of the classroom. Thanks, bitches.

I sat at my desk, preparing myself for my walk with SMH to her office down the Green Mile. I had already put all my stuff in my backpack.

“Shall we?” SMH asked. I nodded, and we walked down the hall. My classmates had positioned themselves all throughout the school in groups of twos and threes, acting like they weren’t trying to watch and listen. It was like a scene from every crime show, where they were undercover cops trying to catch a killer or something. I was the hostage, simply following the orders of my captor, who had a gun in my back, and she’d use it if I didn’t do exactly as she said.

“Not only is your paper the worst paper I’ve received this year,” SMH started, once we had reached the safety of her office. “But it’s the worst paper I’ve received in the last 1,500 years.”

“Oh, come on, Sister Mary Hitler,” I tried to sound jovial. I thought about slapping her on the ass and messing her hair up a little, and immediately decided not to when she sat down at her desk and looked at me. “It can’t be that bad, can it?”

My mind started working again. She’d received other papers this year. That was good. I’d have something to compare mine to if I survived this.

Yes, my paper was the epitome of suckdom. And here’s why. Good. She was going to tell me the areas she liked the least in my paper. For starters, I had listed some strange drug actions.

“Yeah, they’re called paradoxical reactions. They’re listed as possible reactions in my drug book. Would you like to see it? It’s in my backpack?”

“No. And there’s this. You didn’t actually provide any care to your patient.”

“If you recall, I wasn’t given that opportunity because you wouldn’t let me provide any actual care to my patient.” I thought about adding, I vas only following ordahs. Not a good idea.

“What about this thing you did here?”

“Um, that’s what you’ve been teaching us to do in that situation since the first day of class.” And it occurred to me, her issue wasn’t really about what I’d written because I didn’t say this:

Patient prepped and assisted into bed. VSS, A&O x 4. Then I started looking out the window, searching for the shape of a stork, because that’s where babies come from.

If her problem was with me, let’s talk about me.

“Sister Mary Hitler, if you kick me out of school, you’re going to destroy my life. This is the last chance I have to make my life better. If you kick me out, I’ll end up working at Fingerhut until I die. Please, give me another chance. I’ll do anything you ask.” If she had told me to get down on my knees and say Pretty please, I would’ve done that in a heartbeat.

SMH sat back in her chair, and she may have even allowed herself a small smile. If she knew how close to death she was right then, it would’ve been the last thing she would’ve done. I was about five seconds from cutting her liver out of her body and eating it in front of her before she bled out.

“Well, I suppose I could let you rewrite it…”

“Yes, I can do that. I’ll even translate it into Latin…”

“And I could give you until next…Friday… to have a completely rewritten paper on my desk…” I think we had two weeks to submit our first paper.

“I’ll have it on your desk by Wednesday.”

She still gave me until Friday. Then she noted all the pages in my original paper–so I couldn’t reuse them–and handed it back to me. I had gotten a reprieve. My execution had been postponed. Now I had to save my future career.

My classmates were still posed in the hallway, trying to look like they were innocent bystanders. I saw one of my fellow students who had turned in her Primip Paper before I had. I pulled her into the nearest Men’s restroom–a group of five other students rushed in after her.

“Give me your paper.” It wasn’t a request.

“No! I’m not going to let you copy my work!”

“I’m not going to copy it. I’m going to compare it.” And I told everyone what SMH told me.

“What the fuck? — That’s bullshit! — She’s out to get you, Mark! — Yeah, she’s never liked you!” everyone said at once. Except the girl I wanted the paper from.

“Give him your paper.” one of my supporting girls said to the girl I had pulled into the restroom. And everyone looked at her, as if they were wondering what raw liver really tasted like.

“Okay! ” she finally agreed, and pulled it out of her backpack.

By the way, she must’ve submitted the second worst paper that year, but she got a 98% on hers.

I spent the next three days rewriting my Primip Paper, wondering if I should add something about storks somewhere, just in cases. My second attempt wasn’t all that different from my original submission. I changed maybe a couple hundred words throughout the paper, focusing on the specific areas SMH had pointed out in her office. Paper Number Two was actually seventy-four pages long. I decided not to add anything about storks.

On Friday, I turned it in, then went to the nearest bar and drank until my brother had to throw me over his shoulder and carry me to the car.

Monday finally arrived. OB/GYN class was the last class of the day, of course. SMH walked in, placed my regraded Primip Paper facedown on my desk without a word, and walked to the front of the classroom to start her lesson.

“Look at it! What did you get?” the girl next to me whispered.

“You look.” I replied, handing her my paper. She scanned the front page quickly, then her face broke into a bright smile, and I could breathe again. She showed me the score, written in red ink at the bottom of the page.

96%.

I had survived Sister Mary Hitler. I wouldn’t have to work at Fingerhut after all. I still had a chance of graduating from nursing school.

Sister Mary Hitler, Part II

My OB/GYN rotation was perhaps the most challenging chapter of my nursing school experience. Not because of the content, I had been down that road before. The challenge was my instructor.

In class, Sister Mary Hitler would call on me frequently to answer her pop quizzes. One day she asked me what some of the slang names on the street were for sexually transmitted diseases. Like I would be only person in the room that would know the answers. The only name I knew was The Clap.

“Oh, come on. You can do better than that.” SMH said, and started rattling off a list of VD slang that went back to the Middle Ages, maybe. “What kind of people do you hang out with?” she asked, disappointedly.

“I think a better question is what kind of people do you hang out with, Sister.” I fired back.

We had what appeared to be a sparring match going on between the two of us that transcended her responsibility to give all her students an excellent education, and my classmates asked me about it.

To tell you the truth, I was a little paranoid. I had openly opposed the Head Nun of the school. I imagined SMG and SMH discussing my fate over dinner, like Mafia nuns. They were Vito Corleone and Luca Brasi. I was the Hollywood director who was about to wake up to find a horse’s head in bed with him.

I was almost certain something would happen, and I would never graduate from nursing school. When they’re out to get you, it’s not paranoia. It’s just good thinking. People in my class had disappeared under mysterious circumstances more than once.

There was one major educational hurdle facing all of us in the OB/GYN rotation: The Primip Paper. In essence, we had to write a comprehensive report complete with citations, footnotes, ibids and op cits and all that stuff. It had to be at least fifty pages long. And it would be fifty per cent of our total grade.

Primip is short for primipara; a woman who is giving birth for the first time.

My primip and I met early in the rotation, and this pleased me to no end because once I had that monster out of the way, I could pretty much coast to the finish line.

I don’t remember her name. She was young, maybe 21 years old. She was from Atlanta, Georgia. I loved her the moment she first spoke. Yep, she had that whole Southern Belle drawl thing going on. She was strikingly attractive. In fact, she was a model, like a supermodel that hadn’t become super yet. Dark hair, blue eyes, perfect teeth, killer smile. You talk about being blessed…

Because I was a male nursing student, SMH wouldn’t let me actually do any nursing care on my female patient. She had one of the female students shave my patient’s pubic hair and administer an enema. Because it was Labor and Delivery, the hospital wouldn’t allow nursing students to administer any medications.

I was relegated to being the scribe for the birth of Southern royalty. So I took copious notes on anything that happened, no matter how insignificant. And I tried to interview my patient in between contractions.

She was so incredibly gracious and answered every question I asked until just before she gave birth when she said, “I’m sorry, I can’t do this anymore. Do you mind if we take a break? Thank you, thank you so much.” And you just said that in your head with a Southern drawl, didn’t you.

She delivered a healthy baby boy. There were no complications for mother or child. I interviewed her at length during her stay. I read her chart from front to back. I even did a follow up visit at her home to see how she and her son were doing.

Having amassed enough information to write her entire life story, I organized my notes and started typing, distilling all the information I had gathered so it pertained only to her L&D experience. Seventy-five pages later I delivered the most comprehensive Primip Paper ever written in the history of the SCHSoN, and handed it in to Sister Mary Hitler on a Wednesday. On Friday, she walked into the classroom.

“Mark, I want to speak to you in my office after class.” she announced to everyone, then nonchalantly started her lesson. My classmates took turns looking back at me, I always sat in the back of the room. What’s this all about? they asked quietly, when SMH had her back turned.

I tried to shrug it off, but we all knew SMH didn’t want to see me in her office so she could tell me how pleased she was. Breathe in, breathe out, I told myself. Focus!

But I didn’t hear a single word SMH said in that class. I was reasonably confident I wouldn’t need to know anything ’bout birthin’ no babies because when this class was over, I was no longer going to be in nursing school.

Sister Mary Hitler

I didn’t give Sister Mary Jude her nickname, but I gave Sister Mary Dominic her nickname, and it stuck like glue.

A little background stuff: Sister Mary Jude was about 170 years old and had been the administrator at the school since roughly the American Civil War.

Sister Mary Hitler was more like 1,700 years old and had been at the school since the Fall of the Roman Empire. She was of German descent, hence the moniker. There was a rumor her dad walked out on her and her mom when she was a little girl, and as a result, she didn’t like men. I don’t know if that’s true, but I do know this: she did not like me.

Sister Mary Hitler was the OB/GYN instructor at our school. She had prepared slideshow presentations on various aspects of pregnancy, labor and delivery, infant care and abortion. Before any of her students could step onto the floor for clinical experience, they had to watch her slideshows. It was mandatory! These were stored in the library I had recently saved from destruction…

On our first day of OB/GYN clinicals she asked if we had all watched her very important slideshows. Everyone said, “Yes, Sister!” except me. I said nothing. I could’ve lied, but I didn’t feel comfortable lying to a nun. After all, her boss was God.

SMH noticed my singular lack of response and interrogated me in front of my classmates. And I answered. I already knew where babies came from. I had assisted in the births of dozens of new humans before I ever stepped foot into nursing school, and I had six younger brothers and sisters. I knew how to give a baby a bath, and I had never thrown any of them out with the bath water.

Sister Mary Hitler didn’t care. She was almost screaming! I absolutely had to watch her slideshows or I couldn’t go to the floor!! And she meant it. We stared each other down, and I blinked first.

So I went to the library, which I decided was a stupid place, and vowed I would never try to save another piece of my doomed school, and I watched her goddamn slideshows — just in cases she decided to ask me any trick questions when I got back to the hospital. And she did, but she was satisfied with my answers and my life as a student nurse was allowed to continue. However, it was just the beginning of my trials and tribulations with Sister Mary Hitler.